Eagles’ head coach Nick Sirianni spoke to reporters on Wednesday and talked a bit about his messaging to the team and how they need to work on building their foundation as they wait for results, as well as why he’s confident in Gardner Minshew as the No. 2 quarterback and what improvements he’s seen from the young WR group.
Here’s what the head coach had to say:
On his message to the team after a tough loss
“There’s gotta be a message that I have to keep everybody together and to keep everybody — it’s really that together and keep everybody sticking to what we really want to do. This is what I said the team today. The results aren’t there right now. But, what’s going on here is that there’s growth under the soil. I put a picture of a flower up. It’s coming through the ground and the roots are growing out. And the roots are continuing to grow out. And everybody want s to see results. Shoot, nobody wants to see results more than us. We want to see results, too. But, It’s really important that the foundation is being built and the roots are growing out. And the only way the roots grow out every single day, and it grows stronger, and they grow better, is if we all water. We all fertilize. We all do our part. Each individual, each individual coach, each individual player, everybody in the building, that we do our part to water so that when it does pop out, it really pops out and it grows. And so, that was my message today. Like I said to you guys before, I’m always thinking of different messages to give to the team, that are either messages that I think really fit to the situation, that I’ve gotten before in a situation, from another head coach or my dad or whatever. So, that was my message today because we are going through tough times. And everybody wants to see results. But just keep doing what we’re doing, keep watering, and look at yourselves first and know ‘Are you water? And are you fertilizing every day?’ So, when it’s to pop, it’ll pop.”
Sirianni went on to say that just because they are struggling right now, doesn’t mean that he’s lost confidence in his core values and the things he holds true. When they have to make adjustments, it’s to scheme and things like that, be he’s confident in foundation that they’re building.
The head coach also noted that he still relies on the insight from guys like Frank Reich, and his Dad and brothers — who are coaches —, and other coaches around the league.
On Gardner Minshew as the No. 2 QB
Sirianni said that while the media hasn’t seen Minshew perform in practice, the way he’s grown in the offense is what gives the head coach confidence in the QB as the No. 2. He noted that when Jalen Hurts is making a play, Minshew is getting those mental reps, and he’s shown a lot of improvement during their developmental periods and in working with the receivers.
He also was firm that Hurts would continue getting all the reps in the practice, and getting some extra practice for the backup isn’t his philosophy, particularly at quarterback. Sirianni said that at other positions that can be beneficial, but at quarterback, their starter takes all the reps.
The head coach later said that they wouldn’t have gotten rid of Joe Flacco if they didn’t feel comfortable with Minshew at No. 2, and so they felt good about the trades they’ve made in the past two weeks because they are confident in the guys they have on the roster. He talked about how he’s involved in any trade or acquisition, so when Howie Roseman and his office was interested in Minshew, they asked Sirianni to review his film and see how he felt about bringing him in.
On Avonte Maddox
“I just think he’s scrappy and tough. That’s such a requirement for the good slot, nickels I’ve been around, is just that they’re scrappy, they’re tough, and that’s definitely Avonte. And you always have to have good quickness in there, because you go against different guys that are quick, particularly in the slot, they’ve got that short-area quickness. So, I definitely see that in him, and I’m glad he’s our slot corner, because he does a really good job at it.
On the young receiver group
Sirianni said that with the wide receivers, you’re very aware of how fast they are and how they explosive they are and can be. He noted that it’s not secret he’s tight with Gus Bradley, the Raiders defensive coordinator, and after the game, the DC was impressed with the groups’ speed.
“I’ve definitely seen our guys take steps forward in their progression as players. I do believe they’re getting better. But, there is some things you need to adapt to in the NFL that you don’t see college, or you don’t see as second-year players. So, that’s always going to be something we focus on, is catching that football when it’s not right where it’s supposed to be, or when there’s a guy on your back. So, that’s something we’ve spent a lot of time on. That’s something that we gotta continue to get better. I feel like they’re getting better at the route discipline, and the routes that they’re running, and if I’m nitpicking one things, it’s that we gotta continue to get better on the contested catches that we need to make when it’s there.”